Morientes left out of Spain's team

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Coach Luis Aragones has left Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes out of Spain’s squad for the World Cup.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Coach Luis Aragones has left Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes out of Spain’s squad for the World Cup. Aragones choose to take Raul Gonzalez, Fernando Torres and David Villa as the team's strikers for the June 9-July 9 tournament in Germany. Aragones justified the dropping of Morientes, who played for Liverpool in the FA Cup final on Saturday, by stressing the need for tactics and not individuals. ''A national coach has to think in the way the team plays, in the system, and the players that fit into that system,'' Aragones said. ``You don't think about individual players, you think about the team.'' Spain, which makes its eighth straight appearance in the World Cup, plays in Group H against Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Spanish teams have had huge success at the club level, but the national team has lifted only one major trophy - the 1964 European Championship. Spain has played in 11 tournaments overall, but has only won 19 out of 45 games. Its best finish was fourth place at the 1950 World Cup. Aragones has said he believes Spain can reach the last four, although it could face five-time champion Brazil in the quarterfinals - the team's stumbling block in two of the last three tournaments. Spain hopes to benefit from the greater experience of a group of players who have moved to England in the last two seasons - goalkeeper Pepe Reina, defender Asier Del Horno, forward Luis Garcia, and midfielders Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas. The 19-year-old Fabregas, a debutant in Spain's 3-2 win over Ivory Coast in a friendly in March, has forced himself into Aragones' reckoning with his impressive displays in Arsenal's run to the Champions League final. Torres, who has scored nine goals in 27 international appearances, will lead Spain's attack. Shrouded in doubts about his form, Raul may be less involved this time, while David Villa's prolific scoring in this season's Spanish league with Valencia has earned him his debut in a major tournament. Alonso, Valencia's David Albelda and Villarreal's Brazilian-born Marcos Senna, will be crucial in the central midfield. Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes, Real Betis' Joaquin Sanchez and Garcia will occupy forward roles on the wings. Barcelona captain Carles Puyol will partner Atletico Madrid's Pablo Ibanez at the heart of the defense in front of Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas. The fullback roles went to Atletico's Antonio Lopez and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos. Squad:Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Santiago Canizares (Valencia), Jose Manuel Reina (Liverpool). Defenders: Michel Salgado (Real Madrid), Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Juanito Gutierrez (Real Betis), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Pablo Ibanez (Atletico Madrid), Asier Del Horno (Chelsea). Midfielders: Joaquin Sanchez (Real Betis), David Albelda (Valencia), Xavi Hernandez (FC Barcelona), Antonio Lopez (Atletico Madrid), Marcos Senna (Villareal), Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool). Forwards: David Villa (Valencia), Jose Antonio Reyes (Arsenal), Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid), Raul Gonzalez (Real Madrid), Luis Garcia (Liverpool). (AP)